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1 September 2010 Another Sternberg “Fish-within-a-Fish” Discovery: First Report of Ichthyodectes ctenodon (Teleostei; Ichthyodectiformes) with Stomach Contents
Michael J. Everhart, Scott A. Hageman, Brian L. Hoffman
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George F. Sternberg is well remembered for collecting the famous “Fish-within-a-fish” specimen, a 2 m Gillicus preserved inside a 4 m Xiphactinus specimen, from the Late Cretaceous Smoky Hill Chalk of Gove County, Kansas in 1952. Another, much earlier collected “fish-within-a-fish” specimen was rediscovered recently in storage at Park University, Parkville, Missouri. It was collected by G.F. Sternberg's father, Charles H. Sternberg, who sold it and other specimens to the university from his laboratory in Lawrence, Kansas. A letter dated March 24, 1919 accompanying the materials confirmed that the sale occurred just prior to the elder Sternberg moving to his retirement in California. Most importantly, this specimen is the only known example of Ichthyodectes ctenodon Cope 1870 with stomach contents. Although most of the prey fish was lost due to erosion prior to discovery, it has been tentatively identified as Enchodus petrosus from the characteristics of the caudal fin, vertebrae, and overall size. Due to the posterior location of the prey, it appears that the larger Ichthyodectes died after some digestion of the prey had taken place. Although I. ctenodon has long been assumed to be one of the major mid-sized predators in the Western Interior Sea, this specimen provides the first evidence of a piscivorous diet and adds to our knowledge of the ecology of the Late Cretaceous ocean that covered much the North American Midwest.

Michael J. Everhart, Scott A. Hageman, and Brian L. Hoffman "Another Sternberg “Fish-within-a-Fish” Discovery: First Report of Ichthyodectes ctenodon (Teleostei; Ichthyodectiformes) with Stomach Contents," Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science 113(3/4), 197-205, (1 September 2010).
Published: 1 September 2010

Smoky Hill Chalk
Western Interior Sea
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